County’s older people face ‘desperate situation’

Friday 13th May 2022 9:08 am
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The senior woman holding gas bill in front of heating radiator. Payment for heating in winter.

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OLDER people in Ceredigion will “face the real possibility of not being able to heat their homes or even afford food”, as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, a local charity has warned.

West Wales Care & Repair support thousands of older homeowners across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and have “raised the alarm” for what they describe as an “escalating situation”.

Jayne O’Hara, Head of West Wales Care & Repair, said: “We believe that everyone deserves to live independently for as long as possible.

“Yet, with the cost-of-living rising the situation is becoming desperate.

“With the local elections having taken place, we’re calling on newly elected local councillors to do everything they can to ensure our older residents are not disadvantaged. “We know that it is a worrying time for older people, and we work closely with our local communities to provide as much support and advice as we can to those who are struggling.”

Latest figures for Ceredigion show that with the energy cap price rise from April, it now costs residents up to £1,649 every year on average to heat their homes.

Even before the cost-of-living crisis, figures showed that 14 per cent of the county’s over 65s were already in poverty.

With few options to offset this increase in cost, it is older people who will struggle the most with the sudden rise in bills, the charity said.

“With the cost-of-living so high many will turn off their heating altogether, yet evidence shows that living in a cold home worsens health conditions associated with later life, such as Alzheimer’s and respiratory conditions,” the charity said.

“Rising costs of materials are making repairs harder, and some households have put off repairs for several years because of Covid.

“The condition of a property impacts on the well-being of those who live there, with a cold and damp house likely to cause significant health issues.”

Jenny Warlow, a casework officer with West Wales Care & Repair, said: “We are seeing first-hand the difficult decisions that older people are having to make.

“These day-to-day decisions can be about turning off the heating for fear of not being able to pay the bills, reducing food intake to cut costs, or choosing to go without essential support services like lifeline/pendant alarms due to the unaffordability of it in current times.

“Many of our clients have multiple health problems, and these daily decisions can have longer lasting impact on their overall health, wellbeing, and independence.”

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